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Date:   Mon, 03 Aug 2020 18:16:27 -0700 (PDT)
From:   David Miller <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH net-next] net: dsa: sja1105: poll for extts events from
 a timer

From: Vladimir Oltean <>
Date: Mon,  3 Aug 2020 20:51:58 +0300

> The current poll interval is enough to ensure that rising and falling
> edge events are not lost for a 1 PPS signal with 50% duty cycle.
> But when we deliver the events to user space, it will try to infer if
> they were corresponding to a rising or to a falling edge (the kernel
> driver doesn't know that either). User space will try to make that
> inference based on the time at which the PPS master had emitted the
> pulse (i.e. if it's a .0 time, it's rising edge, if it's .5 time, it's
> falling edge).
> But there is no in-kernel API for retrieving the precise timestamp
> corresponding to a PPS master (aka perout) pulse. So user space has to
> guess even that. It will read the PTP time on the PPS master right after
> we've delivered the extts event, and declare that the PPS master time
> was just the closest integer second, based on 2 thresholds (lower than
> .25, or higher than .75, and ignore anything else).
> Except that, if we poll for extts events (and our hardware doesn't
> really help us, by not providing an interrupt), then there is a risk
> that the poll period (and therefore the time at which the event is
> delivered) might confuse user space.
> Because we are always scheduling the next extts poll at
> SJA1105_EXTTS_INTERVAL "from now" (that's the only thing that the
> schedule_delayed_work() API gives us), it means that the start time of
> the next delayed workqueue will always be shifted to the right a little
> bit (shifted with the SPI access duration of this workqueue run).
> In turn, because user space sees extts events that are non-periodic
> compared to the PPS master's time, this means that it might start making
> wrong guesses about rising/falling edge.
> To understand the effect, here is the output of ts2phc currently. Notice
> the 'src' timestamps of the 'SKIP extts' events, and how they have a
> large wander. They keep increasing until the upper limit for the ignore
> threshold (.75 seconds), after which the application starts ignoring the
> _other_ edge.
> Fix that by taking the following measures:
> - Schedule the poll from a timer. Because we are really scheduling the
>   timer periodically, the extts events delivered to user space are
>   periodic too, and don't suffer from the "shift-to-the-right" effect.
> - Increase the poll period to 6 times a second. This imposes a smaller
>   upper bound to the shift that can occur to the delivery time of extts
>   events, and makes user space (ts2phc) to always interpret correctly
>   which events should be skipped and which shouldn't.
> - Move the SPI readout itself to the main PTP kernel thread, instead of
>   the generic workqueue. This is because the timer runs in atomic
>   context, but is also better than before, because if needed, we can
>   chrt & taskset this kernel thread, to ensure it gets enough priority
>   under load.

Applied, thank you.

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